Thesis Title

The Stories Ministers Tell: an Analysis of Stories Communicated in the Assemblies of God Organization

Date of Graduation

Summer 1995

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Charlene Berquist

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

This thesis is an exploratory study of the Assemblies of God organization based upon an examination of stories communicated by retired ministers of the organization. While many studies of organizations have examined stories, few studies have focused on religious organizations. This study used a qualitative design where Assemblies of God ministers were contacted and interviewed. An interpretative data analysis was used to identify common themes and issues present in stories the ministers communicated. The study found that ministers communicate three common categories of stories: ministerial call stories, organizational identity stories, and stories about gender. Specific story lines which emerged in each story type were: ministerial call stories reflected initial call stories, divine direction stories, and retirement stories; organizational identity stories were comprised of value stories, ideology stories, and change stories; finally stories about gender centered on stories about finding a place, stereotype stories, marriage and ministry stories, and contingency stories. The study raised questions about the tension retiring ministers experience when retiring from a divine call. This study also raised questions about organizational emphasis on results and the possible stress this places on ministers. Finally, the study illustrated the possible tension that exists for women in ministry when they encounter conflicting written and unwritten organizational rules.

Copyright

© Scott Lee Ping

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